Sticking with a Job until It Is Done

Workplace Drug TestWhen employees are less than motivated, they can really drag the progress of their work. They may feel as if they are put upon, or as if they are doing an unreasonable amount of the labor involved. Some employees feel as if they really do not want to be at work at all, and just want to get by with what they can. These are sometimes the slowest and the ones who drag everyone behind them the most.

Psychologically, this can be destructive. When you feel as if you are in a dead end job and as if you can never get ahead or do any better than you are doing right now, you may feel helpless or as if the life is being sucked out of you every day. This is a dangerous mindset because if this persists over a long period of time, it can be really debilitating. Some people have become suicidal just over their intense boredom and their belief that this is how all life will eventually be.

Employee drug testing helps all of your employees, because it keeps the drug abusing and drunken stragglers out of your midst. Life is meant to encourage growth and to be fulfilling. When your staff is fit for duty, this increases their chances to feel this truth. Alcohol tests and adulterant tests within urine drug tests are easily available for companies which wish to weed out the ones who are abusing drugs and who tend to be the complainers and the ones who perpetually bring everyone down to their level. We not only carry breathalysers, but also provide breathalyser recalibration service. At CMM Technology, we are a full service drug test equipment supplier. We know our products and we know how good they are.

If you are looking to implement higher quality employee drug testing in your own business, remember that the drug test equipment must speak for itself. Call us up and have us tell you about all of your AOD options. While you’re at it, order our LifeLoc FC10 device or try our Medix integrated pro-split cup 6+6. We would love to hear from you. Call us today for more information: (+61) 1300 79 70 30.

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Staying Strong under Pressure

The trick with staying strong under pressure is that you must see that theDrug Free Workplace pressure itself is not physical and that even really obnoxious superiors cannot take that fact away from you. With that in mind, you must allow yourself to see the situation in an emotionless state of mind. This is like a doctor not becoming too attached to his patient’s pain or like a nurse doing what is necessary to heal her patient, even when the feedback is strongly negative.

To get the job done, no matter what, under pressure, you must be willing to turn off your emotional reactions and see the situation for what it really is, in the light of the truth.

That is not to say that you must avoid positive thinking, and indeed spinning for a positive turn is much better than allowing the reality of it, should it be a really bad reality, to get to you. However, before you can be hopeful, you must see it with honest eyes. Then, no matter how bad it is, you can look forward to progress upward, rather than being unrealistic about the matter and hiding your head in the sand, like an ostrich.

Urine drug tests and saliva drug tests are great for determining who is truly able to stay strong under pressure. Someone who is working mechanically or who suddenly becomes alternately amiable and obnoxious when the pressure hits may be drugging themselves in order to deal with the pressure. Neither drugs nor alcohol can truly deal with this fact fully, and they cannot suddenly make your employees fit for duty. They must have a clear head.

Onsite drug testing is done by our sister company, Mediscreen, but we provide drug test equipment, breathalyser devices and other equipment in order to make sure that your jobsite is safe and truly under control. Employee drug testing is the safest way that you can ensure your worksite is steady, rather than being chaotic. CMM Technology also offers a recalibration service for your current drug test equipment. For more information about oral fluid drug tests, call CMM Technology today: (+61) 1300 79 70 30.

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How to Handle the Yelling and the High Tension Jobsite

BreathalyserThere are some jobsites, such as stagehand work at your local civic center, which involves a lot of yelling and a lot of tension in getting things done right and getting them done quickly.

One of the best ways to effectively handle yelling and high tension is to not become excited yourself. If you remain calm, then your thoughts are calm, and you can quickly and easily assess a situation. If, however, an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then their effectiveness can go out the window, because they are not so easily able to control their own emotions.

Some employees use the excuse of drugs or alcohol to say that they are keeping themselves from being too excited. They are taking downer drugs, which includes alcohol. However, the truth is that these drugs also make them more uninhibited, so their natural self restraint is stripped away, and they are likely to offend coworkers, cause accidents, have slowed or weirdly functioning reflexes and can in general put everyone in more danger, not to mention the fact that they are causing everyone else to have to work harder.

Employee drug testing is so effective for this type of predicament. You are eliminating bosses who are domineering or who abuse their own power, and you are eliminating employees who are not emotionally competent to keep themselves together, even during the easy times. It is therefore essential to the happiness of your company that you find some saliva drug tests and some breathalyser devices, and put them to use. We can help with that. We not only distribute drug test equipment, but we also provide a recalibration service for your company. We can fulfill any of the employee drug testing needs which you may have. Try our oral fluid drug test, like our ToxSure saliva drug test, and see how easy and cost effective it can be to make sure that all of your employees are fit for duty and fitting properly into their employee roles. For more information about drug testing in Western Australia, call us today: (+61) 1300 79 70 30.

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Business Startups: Keep Fighting

There is a knowledge base about company startups which says that over forty Urine drug testpercent of them fail within the first four years. It is so important to remember that business startups are increasingly important for today’s economy, where jobs are becoming a little scarcer and where individuals now have the power and the resources available to run their own operations successfully.

If you are struggling with your startup, it is important to understand how having the right people can make or break you. If you do not have an appropriately qualified and hardworking team on your hands, your excellent business system is not being implemented effectively. If your business system fails you, then your hardworking high quality employees will be gone to better work.

Employee drug testing is especially important for these two areas. Through drug testing and screening tests, you can find out if your employees are as high quality as all that, and you can find out if your business system is as effective as you think it is. Drug testing in Western Australia is meant to protect your employees and your business system, not attack them. Alcohol tests and drug test equipment can truly determine what is going on with your staff, and to make sure that everything is exactly as it should be.

Without high quality adulterant tests, you cannot know for sure if things are falling into place when you’re not there or if this has just been a happy accident so far. You need to be able to correctly evaluate your employees without pressure and time getting in the way. Your own judgment about their character can be significantly impaired by such things as deadlines and even some control issues which you or they may have and which tend to come out while under pressure. It is important to evaluate your staff correctly and to understand how drug test equipment can be the first step to making your business safe and highly efficient. And don’t forget our breathalyser recalibration service, so that you can have your equipment recalibrated any time you need it. Call CMM Technology today:(+61) 1300 79 70 30.

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Assurance against Adulterants

Assurance against AdulterantsAdulterants are effects which can mess up a smoothly running system, like urine drug tests. Working with adulterants can help any person understand the effect that they can have upon this smoothly operating system. Thankfully, CMM Technology provides urine drug tests which are able to detect adulterants, which is not something which every drug test can do. Sometimes, companies give a certain limit on the number of times which employees can abuse drugs, but in Australia, under the ‘Duty of Care’ laws, businesses are responsible for employees who become intoxicated or high while on the job and then cause an accident, even if it is right after leaving work. At this point, the business must spend time and money to insure that employees who are under the influence are driven home.

Talk about a costly decision, one way or the other. You must find a replacement, but the employee in question has already replaced themselves with someone who will take their own job seriously.

It is this attention to detail which defines a great company. Your employees must be fit for duty. Alcohol tests define a certain necessary parameter on the abuse of AOD, alcohol and other drugs. Something like a breathalyser test can be really handy for a company, and we at CMM Technology also provide a breathalyser recalibration service. Urine drug tests are popular, though saliva drug tests are becoming increasingly popular. Screening tests must have a certain amount of validity, not only with the tests but with the company distributing these tests, and that is why we are so proud of our reputation. Try our ToxSure saliva drug test if you are looking for some high quality saliva drug test options. It is important to remember that we at CMM Technology only distribute the best equipment to companies, and we want to make sure that you are using our equipment, and not someone else’s inferior drug test equipment. For more information about ordering from us, call us today:(+61) 1300 79 70 30.

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Helping the Truly Addicted – The Science of Drug Cravings

Employers dealing with drug addiction in the workplace know it is a Workplace Drug Testingcomplicated condition that is not easily resolved. One of the issues connected with addiction is drug cravings. Even when a person is able to quit taking drugs, the cravings can continue. Though medical researchers knew that the cravings originate in the brain, it is only recently that they were able to prove addiction can be blocked.

Workplace drug testing is a critical component of a drug free workplace. However, the truly addicted are dealing with a host of triggers, even if they are not currently testing positive for drug use. The source of cravings is found in the dopamine produced in the brain when drugs are used over and over again. An employee who is addicted eventually gets to the point where taking drugs is not necessary for the brain to respond with dopamine. Just thinking about drugs or experiencing a situation that reminds a person of drugs can trigger a release. In other words, cravings can be triggered by a number of cues that include seeing ordinary items used in the past as drug-taking or drug-making paraphernalia, participating in social events like office parties, seeing someone take medications, and so on. These are all triggers that exist in the workplace and can unintentionally prompt addictive behaviours.

This explains the importance of random drug and alcohol testing that includes all departments in the business. Addiction knows no boundaries. It also seems to be amplified in some addicts. Up to this point, intervention has relied mostly on counselling and behavioural change therapies, but relapse is common because of the powerful call of cravings.

Medical Research Brings Good News

Teaching the truly addicted how to manage cravings is not easy but it is necessary. Employers can help by offering EAP programs that provide essential support and helping the workers access counselling services. However, there is good news concerning addiction treatment. Medical researchers recently experienced a breakthrough by discovering a way to block heroin and morphine addiction. A team of medical researchers from the University of Adelaide and the University of Colorado developed a drug called (+)-naloxone that targets the immune system of the brain rather than neurotransmitters. The importance of this research is the fact that it is possible to block the immune system rather than the central nervous system, both of which play roles in addiction.1 Besides blocking cravings for opioids, the drug also reduces pain.

When dopamine is produced in the brain, the addict feels ‘rewarded’ and everyone likes rewards. The drug (+)-naloxone prevents the dopamine reaction and the subsequent feelings of reward. One of the important findings coming out of this research is that addiction is not just related to the brain wiring. In this particular case, addiction is connected to the immune-receptor Toll-Like receptor 4, which is found to play a role in the drug reward connected to opioids. This kind of information is important for treating anyone taking opioids for their pain killing effects.2

Hope for Future Treatments

It is expected that this recent research will eventually lead to new drugs for managing pain and addiction. People with chronic pain could conceivably use a drug that does not lead to addiction like the current opioids. Opioid addiction is a growing problem in Australia, which means it is a growing problem for employers. Unfortunately, any new drugs that might come out of this research are a long way from reaching market. It will take up to two years to complete the clinical trials.

CMM Technology (http://www.cmm.com.au/) has a wide range of drug and alcohol testing equipment designed for the workplace. A team of professionals can also offer expert guidance in policy development.

References

1 University of Adelaide (2012, August 14). Scientists can now block heroin, morphine addiction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 4, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com¬/releases/2012/08/120814213246.htm

2 Researchers make heroin addiction breakthrough. (2012, August 16). Retrieved from ABC News – Australia: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-08-15/researchers-make-heroin-addiction-breakthrough/4199096

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Lance Armstrong Proves Drug Testing Works

Drug test KitsReading brief news reports about the doping case involving Lance Armstrong, a world champion cyclist, has raised a lot of questions about drug testing. The reality is that the Armstrong situation proves that drug testing is highly effective. How can that be when he was using drugs, but passing drug tests? Armstrong went to almost unbelievable extremes to bypass testing procedures, proving that the accuracy of drug testing was something to fear for anyone intent on cheating the system. Once the full story was revealed, the incredible lengths that Armstrong had to go through to deceive the drug testing system proves to employers that current drug testing methods are highly accurate and bypassing them, especially for years, takes a level of extensive planning, effort and collusion that the vast majority of workers would not, or could not, pull off.

For anyone not familiar with the Armstrong situation, the story is disturbing and farcical at the same time. Armstrong was a hero to many as a seven time winner of the Tour de France and as a cancer survivor. However, his career and successes were dogged with rumours of performance-enhancing drugs. Accused a number of times of doping, he always protested his innocence and pointed out he passed drug tests. For ten years, Armstrong continued to compete whilst passing drug tests and winning cycling races. If that is all that is known about the situation, it would appear that drug testing is not successful. However, there is much more to the story.

Wrong Kind of Teamwork

In its final report, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said that Armstrong was, in effect, heading a sophisticated and professionalised doping program in the cycling sport. The extent to which Armstrong went to disguise his use of drugs is disturbing. However, even more disturbing is the fact his success was the result of the wrong kind of teamwork. It took a ‘code of silence’ and elaborate ruses to keep Armstrong’s drug use secret. Lance Armstrong became an expert in evading drug testing, but the fact remains it took the cooperation of a lot of people to bypass the drug testing procedures. In fact, it is a sad story of deception and desperation.

It appears that Armstrong began the deception early in his successful career. In 1999, Armstrong’s gardener, a man known as “Motoman”, became the courier who delivered EPO (Erythropoietin) via motorcycle to the team, whilst the team was on tour buses. Armstrong’s teammates were participating in the deception and using drugs also. Syringes filled with EPO and dropped into soda cans were delivered to the bus, and the team doctor would then throw them out the bus windows after the syringes were removed. This practice was followed by taking a concoction of olive oil and testosterone called by the code name “the oil”.1

The story gets much worse. According to team members, Lance Armstrong went so far as to store blood transfusions obtained from a doctor who knew what he was doing and why he was doing it. Transfusions were taken on tour bus trips, with the bus sometimes stopping in the countryside so team members could carry out self-administered blood transfusions. The team members would complete a blood transfusion and then inject a saline solution to lower the hematocrit level.

A Culture of Drug Abuse

Armstrong claimed he had been tested hundreds of times for drugs and always passed. The truth was he was tested 60 times over his career for drugs, and there are questions about the interpretation of the blood tests. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) asked the head of physiology at the Australian Institute of Sport to re-analyse 38 Armstrong blood samples taken during his successful cycling Tours. The results clearly showed that blood doping was a high likelihood.2

There are many important lessons for employers in the Armstrong case. For example, one of the primary methods used to escape drug detection was to elude testing. Team members would refuse to answer the door when they thought the out-of-competition drug testers were knocking. Armstrong utilised other anti-detection strategies, like waiting to submit required travel plans until the last minute and staying in remote hotels where it was unlikely testers would show up. The cover-up strategies included backdated prescriptions to hide corticosteroid use, trainer supplied drugs, administered micro-doses of EPO under the skin at night, and a host of other activities designed to hide drug use.

Armstrong had a culture of drug abuse within his team, and they knew they had to conspire to past drug tests. It took doctors, team members, managers and personal deception to hide Armstrong’s drug use for so many years. Armstrong and his team were an anomaly, and people can have faith in the system of random drug testing using state-of-the art equipment. However, there are lessons Australian employers can take from this situation.

First, random drug testing policies must be diligently followed. Employees scheduled for testing should never be allowed to evade testing. Second, using reliable testing services and laboratories is critical. Third, a random drug test program must be truly random. As mentioned, Armstrong and his team would administer the EPO micro-doses in the middle of the night when drug testers were unlikely to conduct surprise tests. Employers who run 16 or 24 hours shifts need to include all workers in the random drug testing program.

Employers can have faith in current reliable drug testing equipment like that provided by CMM Technology (http://www.cmm.com.au/). However, the reliable equipment must be combined with well developed and strictly enforced drug and alcohol testing policies and procedures to achieve a substance free workplace.

References

1 How Lance Armstrong beat the drug testers for more than a decade. (2012, October 12). Retrieved from News.com.au: http://www.news.com.au/sport/more-sport/how-lance-armstrong-beat-the-drug-testers-for-more-than-a-decade/story-fndukor0-1226494263448

2 Austen, Ian. (2012, October 11). Report Describes How Armstrong and His Team Eluded Eluded Doping Tests. Retrieved from The New York Times – International Herald Tribune: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/12/sports/cycling/how-lance-armstrong-beat-cyclings-drug-tests.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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Use of “Ice” Once Again on the Rise and That is Not Cool

How can something so dangerous have a name as innocuous sounding as Alcohol Test“ice”? Giving a harmless name to a very dangerous amphetamine is deceiving. Ice is crystal methamphetamine, a potent and pure drug synthesised from ephedrine. Ephedrine in its legal form is used in cold and other medications, but even the legal drugs must be carefully managed to avoid serious physical and mental consequences. Ephedrine can cause nervousness, headaches, anxiety, rapid or irregular heartbeat, blurred vision and even paranoid schizophrenia with long term abuse.

Ice is a concentration of ephedrine, but the final cooked product also contains a variety of other ingredients that makes the results of its use unpredictable and dangerous. Many of the meth labs that blow up during drug “cooking” are making Ice because it is the purest form of methamphetamine compared to base and speed and produces some of the most intense reactions in users. The innocuous name comes from the fact the drug is sold in crystalline form. One important fact that employers should be aware of is that Ice users develop a tolerance to the drug as the drug destroys receptors in the brain through prolonged use. It takes more and more of the drug to achieve feelings of pleasure. The end results can be horrific and include decayed teeth, hallucinations, skin lesions, panic attacks and strokes. An Australian study of people using ice conducted several years ago found that one out of every people experienced a debilitating psychotic episode.1

Double Onus on the Employer

The popularity of ice has changed depending on the price of other street drugs. It is easily detectable by workplace drug test kits. That is important to know because unfortunately, Ice has become popular again in Australia. In May, the manager of the Bridge Program, the Salvation Army’s intensive drug rehabilitation program in Victoria, said that Ice use is increasing in Melbourne and making its way through distribution channels into country towns. In May, 2012, the Bendigo Community Health Service manager, Cheryl Sobczyk, reported a sharp increase in Ice use and addiction over the last year and half.2 This was confirmed by Victoria Police figures showing possession and use of Ice increased by 58.2 percent in the 12 months ending September 2012. Along with the increased use of drugs like Ice has come an increase in domestic violence.3

Workers dealing with family members who are drug users are likely to experience problems at work because of the extreme stress and anxiety of dealing with drug addiction. This places a double onus on employers trying to minimize any influence of drugs on worker safety and productivity. The drug and alcohol education programs work hand-in-hand with drug testing to ensure workers are educated concerning drug use, know where to find help should they or someone in their family use drugs, and are clean of drugs in the workplace.

Mildura has also reported an increase in Ice use, and interestingly the users are not engaged in welfare programs. The Mildura Aboriginal Corporation spokesperson, Donna Hunt, said that Ice is as popular with the middle class as it is with lower income families. She notes that some people can continue to hold jobs in the early stages of methamphetamine drug use on weekends.4

Drug Testing Remains a Key Strategy

The latest series of reports about Victoria are typical of other areas of Australia. The Australian Institute of Criminology reported that 2011 methamphetamine use in 2011 was up by 10 percent around the country because it was easier to get than ecstasy. There is a global shortage of MDMA, which is driving users to meth. Just as concerning is the fact that that people overdosing on drugs are using lethal cocktails of substances.5 This is precisely why there are drug test panels to check for more than one drug. It is impossible to predict how workers will mix drugs.

The rise of Ice use in Australia is a reminder that employers must remain diligent with random drug testing programs. CMM Technology at http://www.cmm.com.au/

offers a variety of drug tests like the DrugWipe 5+, which can detect 5 different drugs, including amphetamines and methamphetamines, within 10 minutes.

References

1 Hon Colin C Barnett, MLA. (2006, November). ‘Ice’ Age. Retrieved from Pariliament of Western Australia: http://www.mp.wa.gov.au/colinbarnett/library/publications/Ice-Age.pdf

2 Australia Sees a Rise in the Use of “Ice”. (2012, May 26). Retrieved from Recovery Newspaper: http://recoverynowtv.com/breaking-news/item/australia-sees-a-rise-in-meth-use

3 AAP. (2012, November 30). Ice, family violence, drive Vic crime rise. Retrieved from The Western Australian: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/national/15519497/ice-family-violence-drive-vic-crime-rise/

4 Mildura ‘ice’ use ‘on the rise’. 2012, October 30). Retrieved from ABC News – Australia: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-10-30/mildura-ice-use-on-the-rise/4341314

5 Rickard, Lucy. (2011, November 4). Meth use rises a ‘concern’ in WA. Retrieved from WAtoday – WA News: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/meth-use-rises-a-concern-in-wa-20111103-1mwxz.html

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Legalising Marijuana Does Not Change Its Effects

The discussion rages on: Should marijuana be legalized and not just Workplace Drug Testingdecriminalised? Though a topic of discussion for many years now, the debated heated up when the Global Commission on Drug Policy issued the report War on Drugs in June 2011. The Commission recommends the decriminalisation and government regulation of cannabis and possibly other drugs. The report was greeted with applause by those who support the legalisation of marijuana and with alarm by those who do not. Among those who generally do not buy-in to the argument are employers

For employers, two considerations are embedded in this debate. First, will legalisation make it more difficult to control cannabis use in the workplace? Second, in terms of the effects of cannabis on workers, it should not make any difference if marijuana is legalised or not because of the known side effects of cannabis use.

The discussion on the legalisation of cannabis is similar to the discussions concerning prescription drugs. Though prescription drugs are legal, many of them present the same kind of problems as illegal drugs. Another way to look at the issue is that it really does not matter if a substance is legal or illegal, if the worker is disoriented, has memory problems, and experiences dizziness or anxiety as a result of a drug’s use. The safety of the worker and co-workers is jeopardised. In fact, cannabis use can lead to a number of immediate effects and each one can make it difficult for a worker complete tasks. Besides the ones mentioned, immediate effects include affected perception, altered vision, sleepiness, reduced coordination and loss of balance. Long-term use of cannabis can lead to impaired concentration and a greater likelihood of experiencing psychotic episodes. The importance of having a strong workplace drug and alcohol policy in place, and of following a random employee drug testing schedule, cannot be overstated.1

An Issue of Doing Harm to Others

Supporters of cannabis legalisation tend to pick and choose the words they quote from the War on Drugs Report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy. Whilst the report does support the decriminalisation of cannabis, it also states as its first principle and recommendation, “End the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others.” Clearly, the Global Commission is not recommending drug use by workers because cannabis use in the workplace certainly can lead to harm coming to others.2

The question also remains as to whether cannabis legalisation makes the drug more available or more restricted and whether it increases drug use or encourages people to use cannabis more responsibly. Right now employers struggle with managing worker use of prescription drugs, which are legal but often contain ingredients like opioids. Another workplace issue is whether drug legalisation will increase drug activity in the workplace because the fear of legal repercussions is removed.

It does not matter whether currently illicit drugs are legalised. Legal or not, cannabis and other drugs will impact workers the same way before or after legalisation. Maintaining a drug free workplace is the right policy for promoting workplace safety and productivity, and that does not change just because the laws change.

It is important to use high quality drug test kits meeting Australian standards. CMM Technology (http://www.cmm.com.au/) works closely with employers who are interested in selecting reliable and accurate workplace drug testing equipment.

References

1 Drug Info. (2011). Cannabis facts. Retrieved from Australian Drug Foundation: http://www.druginfo.adf.org.au/drug-facts/cannabis

2 Jahangir, Asma and Carlos Fuentes, Cesar Gaviria, et. al. (Commission members). (2011, June). The War on Drugs – Report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy. Retrieved from Global Commission on Drug Policy: http://www.globalcommissionondrugs.org/wp-content/themes/gcdp_v1/pdf/Global_Commission_Report_English.pdf

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Profile of a Drug Addict

If you think that you know who is likely to be a drug addict in Australia, youProfile of a Drug Addict may be surprised. Most people think of a drug addict as someone who is homeless and living on the streets, was raised in a bad family environment, or is emotionally troubled. However, that profile is inaccurate because it may be your neighbour, co-worker or friend who is addicted to legal drugs. The fact is that drug addiction does not discriminate. Drug addicts are male or female, middle class, young and old, unemployed and working, and many are good at hiding their addictions.

Every day, workers arrive at their place of employment whilst on drugs. People from all walks of life are addicted to illicit drugs, but it is abuse of prescription drugs that are causing just as much alarm. Many drug addicts are not necessarily buying illegal street drugs like heroin or ecstasy. They are walking into pharmacies with legal prescriptions and buying Oxycodone, Valium, Lortab, Xanax and many other types of anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications, pain relievers and stimulants. A number of people are taking a mixture of legal drugs, leading to unpredictable side effects due to drug interactions.

Paint a Portrait of a Middle Aged Person

Many of the prescription drugs lead to similar side effects as illicit drugs. Dr. Alex Wodak, Director of the Alcohol and Drug Service at St. Vincent’s Hospital, believes that Australia is close to experiencing an epidemic concerning prescription drugs. There are already tragic consequences mounting with increasing numbers of deaths reported due to prescription drugs and ‘drug cocktails.’ The most common victim is not a street person. It is a middle-aged person who accidentally takes too many prescription drugs or mixes legal drugs, leading to an overdose.1

There are thousands of people who doctor shop to get the legal drugs, and especially painkillers. For this reason, there are a number of federally funded programs attempting to create e-health databases. These databases can be accessed by health authorities, pharmacists and doctors and will contain patient information concerning prescriptions and drug consumption. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners announced the development of a $5 million new e-health program that that will make it easier to spot people trying to get prescriptions filled who are suspected of doctor shopping, trafficking legal drugs or forging prescriptions.2

Unfortunately, thousands of people sell their prescriptions to other addicts, creating a chain of illegal and legal addicts. Whilst some will attempt to sell them on the streets, others will sell them to friends, family and co-workers. Considering the rise in the number of prescribed opioids (painkillers) and the average profile of the legal drug addict, it is probable that most workplaces have workers who are addicted and under the influence of drugs whilst working.

Just as Dangerous to Workplace Safety

We tend to think of legal prescription drugs as being less dangerous than illicit drugs because legal drugs are manufactured under controlled circumstances. However, that is a fallacy. For example, some of the mildest side effects of the commonly used prescription drug Lortab are dizziness, depression and light-headedness. These side effects can lead to serious safety issues in the workplace. Lortab contains the narcotic hydrocodone and can be detected by drug tests.

It is difficult to develop a profile of a drug addict because it can be anyone. The bottom line is this: As drug use continues to grow, the importance of workplace drug testing grows too.

CMM Technology has a wide range of state-of-the-art drug and alcohol testing equipment that includes both urine and saliva kits. Using the testing kits found at http://cmm.com.au/index.php can help employers manage safety issues related to legal and illegal substances.

References

1 Wordsworth, Matt. (2012, November 12). Deadly epidemic fears over common painkiller. Retrieved from ABC News: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-10-25/australia-facing-epidemic-from-stronger-than-heroin-drug/4334218

2 Tindal, Suzanne. (2012, February 17). GPs tick real-time drug database. Retrieved from ZDNet: http://www.zdnet.com/gps-tick-real-time-drug-database-1339331938/

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What’s New on the Streets of Australia?

Alcohol TestIllicit drug manufacturers are innovative, productive and working diligently to stay one step ahead of the government’s efforts to identify designer drugs. By the time a drug is added to the Schedule 8 – Controlled Drug or Schedule 9 – Prohibited Substance lists, a new drug like MDPV or “Smiles” appears. It is difficult for employers to stay current on the newest substances to hit the streets. That is precisely why it is important to use a high quality workplace drug testing company that has access to the latest research and produces state-of-the-art drug testing kits.

In January 2012, it was reported that some drug users in Adelaide were experiencing severe psychotic episodes due to a new street drug commonly referred to as Scat Cat, Meow-Meow and 666. Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) is extremely potent and similar to MDMA. The drug produces a number of serious side effects that include rapid heartbeat, dizziness, nausea, paranoia, delusions and violent behaviour, among many others. Though MDPV has been on the federal controlled drug list since 2010, after numerous overdoses and several deaths, the drug was added to Schedule 9 effective May 1, 2012, thus banning it.

In some ways, MDPV is old news because it has been identified and a controlled drug for six months. However, there are other new street drugs that have recently made appearances. One of them has a street name that belies the danger it presents to users – “Smiles”.

No Smiling when Using Smiles

Smiles is a derivative member of a set of drugs the chemists refer to as 2C-I. Its chemical name is 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodophenethylamine and is fortunately not yet commonly used by substance abusers. An obscure synthetic drug, it has been used mostly by clubbers who are looking for a cheap high. However, what the users are experiencing are severe hallucinations, bizarre behaviour, seizures and fatally high blood pressure. Smiles binds to serotonin receptors at a far higher rate than other drugs and alters the balance of serotonin and dopamine. The drug causes muscles to contract and get “locked” leading to rigidity, rising temperature and death.

Smiles recently came to the forefront of the Australian discussions on drugs when a young man in Perth continually slammed his body into trees, poles and other fixed items while high on 25B-NBOMe. A tablet form of 2C-I, the new version has been linked to numerous overdoses in Perth.1

A worker who decides to use Smiles will often begin showing signs of extreme distress within an hour of use. If this happens, emergency personnel should be called immediately for aggressive treatment. It is impossible for any drug testing company to rapidly develop test kits that will detect the newest synthetic street drugs made with unpredictable and unknown ingredients, but there is a good chance a drug user will test positive for some other type of substance. Numerous statistics show that most substance abusers are poly users, meaning they are using multiple drugs or drugs and alcohol. For example, the Australian Institute of Criminology released a report involving interviews of almost four thousand detainees. Of the people interviewed by the Drug Use Monitoring program, 44 percent were poly drug users.2 When it does not appear an emergency exists as an employee begins to behave irrationally for some reason, a workplace drug test should immediately be performed for cause. This establishes a workplace record of illicit substance use when the worker tests positive for an illicit substance.

WHO are These People?

One person reading a news report concerning 2C-I asked WHO are these people mixing synthetic drugs and why is it that humans will snort, inject, drink, inhale and consumer anything? It is an excellent question. Though it is not the duty of employers to psychoanalyse workers, they do need to understand that easy drug availability makes random drug and alcohol testing an imperative. Synthetic drugs may change formulas, but poly users seem to have no compunction about mixing legal and illegal drugs or mixing multiple illicit drugs and alcohol.

No one can predict the next new street drug, but there will be one. It is critical that employers diligently adhere to a random drug and alcohol testing program and not be discouraged by the appearance of synthetic street drugs. The habits of drug users are such that current drug screening tests will identify workers using the newest drugs, simply because drug users cannot seem to stop at using a single drug and will rely on the popular drugs also to ensure they experience a ‘high’. In the meantime, laboratories are very close to developing drug tests that detect similar chemical compositions as opposed to identical. That is precisely why employers need to use an experienced drug testing company for supplies and testing services.

CMM Technology offers state-of-the-art drug and alcohol testing equipment that include both urine and saliva products. Using the testing kits found at http://cmm.com.au/index.php ensure that employers are testing based on the latest medical research.

References

1 Perth Now. (2012, September 12). New hallucinogenic drug 25B-NBOMe and 25I-NBOMe led to South Australian man’s bizarre death. Retrieved from SydneyTimes:http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/national/new-hallucinogenic-drug-25b-nbome-and-25i-nbome-led-to-south-australian-mans-bizarre-death/story-fndo6d4b-1226472672220

2 AIC. (2011, August 19). Poly drug use a challenge for law makers. Retrieved from Australian Government -Australian Institute of Criminology: http://www.aic.gov.au/en/media/2011/august/20110819.aspx

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Once Legal, Banned DMAA Still Presents Workplace Safety Risk

What if it was possible to use a plant extract or synthetic version of the Alcohol Testextract in supplement form and experience a sudden burst of energy, greater mental acuity and a heightened sense of well-being and happiness? What if it could also help you lose weight? It would be touted as a miracle health supplement, and that is exactly what occurred with 1,3 dimethylamylamine (DMAA). DMAA has been used in a number of weight loss products and bodybuilding or pre-exercise supplements with the claim it can increase energy and burn fat.

As it turned out, DMAA was not quite the natural miracle supplement it claimed to be, but it certainly is a stimulant. The natural form of DMAA is extracted from the oil in the stems and leaves of geraniums, but synthetic versions have been manufactured in laboratories. Until recently, it was legal, but incident reports and medical research led to the conclusion it is an unsafe additive to sports nutritional products. DMAA is now banned by a number of sporting bodies. For example, the World Anti-Doping Agency banned DMAA use by athletes because it is a performance enhancer.

Government Steps In

As of June 2012, most legitimate nutritional supplement manufacturers stopped using DMAA. On August 8, 2012, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) added DMAA to Appendix C of the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons (SUSMP). Appendix C lists medicines and poisons that are prohibited from sale, supply or use because of known potential harm.1

Though DMAA is a nutritional supplement, there are several issues concerning the workplace, which is true for most chemicals ingested by humans. First, DMAA can produce serious and sometimes life threatening side effects. The most consequential side effect is vasoconstriction, which sets off a chain reaction in the body. DMAA can elevate blood pressure, cause shortness of breath or vomiting, trigger a heart attack, cause tightening in the chest, lead to nervous system problems and promote psychiatric disorders. DMA is also been used as a recreational substance (‘party pill’) because it can produce an adrenaline-like high, and there have been cases of DMAA mixed with alcohol causing cerebral haemorrhage and stroke.

In deciding to include DMAA on Schedule C of SUSMP, the committee noted that DMAA can induce a psychoactive effect, is promoted as a party drug and sports supplement, causes a number of physical and neurological effects, and has a high potential for misuse or abuse.2 Medical research has not conclusively proven how DMAA causes these physical and mental reactions, or even if the dietary supplement is involved in some deaths, but there have been enough adverse medical events directly linked to DMAA usage to lead to its ban.

A second issue concerning DMAA and the workplace is that DMAA use has led to positive drug test results. In fact, it sometimes tests as an amphetamine because it has a similar chemical structure. That is good news because DMAA falls within the category of synthetic drugs. Synthetic drugs are manufactured in laboratories. In the past, there has been discussion about synthetic drugs that mimic recognised illicit drugs, but have a slightly changed chemical formulation. This is a growing problem in Australia because every formula change impacts how the drug is processed by the body. Though DMAA was legal in the past, an employee who tests positive for DMAA is a health and safety risk because the person has taken enough of it to produce drug results. The psychoactive effects of DMAA are a serious concern.

More Testing Diligence

Though DMAA is now banned, it remains a problem because people continue to use the products they already bought. In the workplace, the mixture of DMAA and alcohol can produce many of the same effects as amphetamines, thus presenting a safety risk. This is yet another important reason why alcohol testing is every bit as important as drug testing.

Until August 8 of this year, both DMAA and alcohol were legal, but their combination can produce results that impact a worker’s ability to perform job tasks. Diligent adherence to alcohol and drug testing becomes more critical every day as the drug manufacturers develop chemical formulas designed to enhance physical or mental performance or produce a mental high. It is impossible not to wonder why so many Australians feel the need to get high, but they do. As a result, employers must work ever harder to maintain a drug free workplace.

The complicated world of substance abuse presents difficult challenges for employers trying to maintain a drug free workplace. CMM Technology at http://www.cmm.com.au/ offers high quality alcohol and testing equipment like the Lion SD 500 and state-of-the-art saliva or urine drug tests that deliver exceptional industry proven results.

References

1 Food Standards. (2012, August 1). Final Decision on DMAA by TGA. Retrieved from Food Standards – Australia and New Zealand: http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/scienceandeducation/mediacentre/mediareleases/mediareleases2012/1august2012finaldeci5607.cfm

2 TGA. (2012, August 1). Reasons for scheduling delegate’s final decisions, August 2012. Retrieved from Australian Government, Department of Health and Ageing – Therapeutic Goods Administration: http://www.tga.gov.au/industry/scheduling-decisions-1208-final.htm#dmaa

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